Broadway Grosses Unpredictable During January Dead Months Problematic for Producers

Honeymoon in Vegas Box Office

Honeymoon in Vegas Box Office

Honeymoon in Vegas, which received great reviews, got a bump in ticket sales.

The ‘dead months” for Broadway begin in January with the start of the calendar year and stretch into early March. It’s a time that can be tough on Broadway ticket sales, as people are often low on cash due to holiday spending. Also, the unpredictable and unkind weather, short days and cold nights, and a general letdown after all of the hustle and bustle that defines the time from Thanksgiving through to New Year’s, contribute to uneven ticket sales.

Mid-January Box Office Figures

Mamma Mia!  Broadway musical

Mamma Mia! saw a decreased os more than 10%.

The box office numbers as reported by Playbill.com for the week ending January 18, 2015, reveal an overall uptick from those for the week ending January 11th. Most plays and musicals showed an increase in ticket sales for the week running from the 12th to the 18th. Where as for the week ending January 11th every show, except Aladdin and The Book of Mormon, saw a decline from the week prior, which included New Year’s.

Shows that experienced a decline in sales for the week ending January 18th were Cabaret (-1.4%), Chicago (-5.8%), It’s Only a Play (-5.0%), Jersey Boys (-6.3%), Les Misérables (-5.9%), The Lion King (-1.0%), and The Phantom of the Opera (-8.8%). Mamma Mia! posted the only double-digit dovetail, with sales down 12.8%,

Shows Trending Upward

Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance on Broadway

John Lithgow and Glenn Close star in Albee’s A Delicate Balance.

Of the 29 shows presently running on Broadway, 21 either showed no decline or enjoyed an increase in sales. That means 74% of the shows experienced either improved or stable tickets sales.

The show that saw the biggest increase was the revival of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama A Delicate Balance. There was a 10.1% increase in sales, as the John Golden Theatre reached 83.4% capacity. Two other revivals rebounded nicely, as On the Town notched an increase of 7.7%, going from 58.1% to 65.8%, and You Can’t Take It With You received a 7.2% bump, as it went from 61.3% capacity to 68.5%.

Honeymoon in Vegas

The new musical Honeymoon in Vegas, which garnered wonderful reviews during the week, went from 78.5% to 81.5% capacity. It will be interesting to see if what appears to be the first big hit of 2015 continues to see increased ticket sales during what can be the harshest time of the year for Broadway theatres. Broadway producers will be anxiously eyeing advanced sales for the coming months, as well as daily and weekly grosses.

  • Author Spotlight

    Paul Mroczka

    Paul Mroczka has served Theatre By the Sea as associate director and playwright-in-residence. He has directed for companies including North Country Center for the Arts, Pontine Movement Theatre, The Theatre of Newburyport and the Palace Theatre. A former National Endowment for the Arts fellow in playwriting, he has also garnered a Shubert Fellowship, the Jason Miller Award and has received grants from the New Hampshire Council for the Humanities. His plays have been performed at New York’s La MaMa La Galleria, Nat Horne Theatre, and Manhattan Punchline Theatre, among others. His interactive planetarium show, Pathfinders, is running at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in Concord, NH. Recent directorial assignments include Good People, Steel Magnolias, and The Complete World of Sports (Abridged) at The Barnstormers Playhouse in New Hampshire, and Rumors, Orpheus in the Underworld, and The Glass Menagerie at PSU. This summer Paul finished an initial draft of his new play, Smart Money ... Read Full
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